DAVIE, Fla. Bill Parcells led Super Bowl winners from the sideline. The Miami Dolphins hope he'll do the same from the front office.
Parcells signed a four-year contract Thursday to lead the Dolphins' football operations, one day after turning down essentially the same role with the Atlanta Falcons.
The two-time Super Bowl champion coach will report directly to Miami owner Wayne Huizenga, whose affinity for big-name help now has led him to Parcells a 66-year-old former coach of four NFL clubs who owns a home in South Florida and now has a job there, too.
"He has a proven track record of success everywhere he has been in the National Football League," Huizenga said. "And his football acumen will help put the Miami Dolphins franchise back among the elite of the NFL."
On Wednesday, the expectation around the league was that Parcells would take over in Atlanta. By the afternoon, however, the deal had fallen apart, and the Dolphins moved quickly to get Parcells to sign a contract.
"I'm honored to join such an illustrious franchise as the Miami Dolphins and to work for one of the best owners in the league in Wayne Huizenga," Parcells said. "He shares my same commitment to winning, and I told him I would do everything I can to help turn around the team's fortunes."
The team made the announcement shortly after the locker room was closed for the day, and roughly 45 minutes after Dolphins coach Cam Cameron sidestepped at least a half-dozen questions about Parcells even refusing to say if he's ever met the coach.
"There will potentially be a time to have that discussion," Cameron said. "Today, I don't see it as being that day or this time."
Parcells will be formally introduced on Dec. 27, the team said.
His arrival has taken nearly all the attention off the Dolphins' game at New England on Sunday. But even as it appeared certain Parcells was coming, players didn't say much on the hot topic.
"The guy's a legend," running back Lorenzo Booker said. "There's no doubt about it. He knows what he's doing. Obviously, his resume is a mile long. But I'm a new guy in this league, so I don't even know what a vice president does, to be honest with you, so I'm waiting to find out as much as you guys."
Televisions were off in the locker room after practice Thursday; that wasn't the case 24 hours earlier, when Parcells' face was splashed across the screens as news broke he was weighing Huizenga's offer.
Few players wanted to speak about Parcells, and those who did generally offered the company line, that the Dolphins are only thinking about Sunday's game at New England.
"Any more questions about New England?" defensive back Jason Allen asked.
Miami started 0-13 before beating Baltimore last weekend. The roster already seemed certain for an offseason overhaul. The Dolphins likely will have the No. 1 pick in next year's draft, and the franchise is in the midst of its longest postseason drought, now six years and counting.
And the Dolphins have turned their fortunes over to Parcells, who previously coached the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys.
He insisted that he will not coach in Miami but could see himself helping the coach, whomever it is.
"It's a young man's game in terms of coaching, and I know it's time for someone else to be doing those things," Parcells said on ESPN, which employs him as an analyst. "If I can assist that person in any manner of speaking with my experience or even in the technical aspect and he would seek out that, then I'm happy to contribute."
So now, let the questions begin.
What happens to Cameron?
What happens to general manger Randy Mueller?
"Well, I'm not going to be doing either one of those jobs," Parcells said. "So when I get down there, I'm going to just have to look at the situation and speak with those fellas and evaluate things and see where we go from there."
Parcells' return didn't seem to be a surprise in Dallas, where he retired as coach after last season.
Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones, the son of Dallas owner Jerry Jones, said Parcells was always intrigued "not just in the coaching part of (football), but putting the team together, running the organization, trainers to fields to scouting department. It was always a huge interest to him."
In Miami, he'll get his chance.
Huizenga's desire to get the Dolphins back to Super Bowl form is no secret. He's spared little expense in that quest, and Parcells' hiring is just the latest leap of faith the owner has taken.
In January 2004, Huizenga hired the Dolphins' greatest player, Dan Marino, as senior vice president of football operations, a job created just for him. Marino lasted 22 days before resigning.
In December 2004, Huizenga wooed Nick Saban away from LSU with a massive contract and gave him complete control of the football team. Saban stayed two years, went 15-17 in those seasons and jilted Miami by quitting to become coach at Alabama after the 2006 campaign.
Now comes maybe the biggest catch a Tuna.
"I respect what the Dolphins name means the legacy of the perfect season, and people like coach (Don) Shula, Dan Marino and so many others who have made the team one of the most successful franchises in the NFL," Parcells said. "I'm looking forward to helping restore that winning tradition."